If a doctor determines a person is no longer medically able to make decisions on their own and the person did not name a Power of Attorney then a judge in the probate court where the individuals lives must determine who has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the individual.
A physician must complete documentation that the individual is unable to make decisions for themselves. Someone must step forward to petition the probate court to become the Guardian for the individual. The individual and their family must be notified of the petition by the court.
A guardian-ad-litum will meet with the individual to assess what the individual may want and what may be in the persons best interest. This assessment is also presented to the court for the judge to consider.
The Rhode Island Disability Law Center provides resources and assistance to individuals who may need a guardian. RIDLC also provides resources and training for Supported Decision Making.
The Office of Healthy Aging may be able to provide a Volunteer Guardian for the individual. To learn more about this program click here.
RI Probate Practice and Procedure regarding Limited Guardianship and Guardianships can be found by clicking here.